30 March 2020

Planning When You Don't Really Need a Plan

If you have read my blog for a while, and/or have met me in real life, you know that I do love plans and lists.  The funny thing is, a lot of the time, I don't follow them or even accomplish things on them, but I guess I like knowing the structure is there.

Friends of mine with children have pretty elaborate lists and plans because they have to keep track of multiple people, and I know it often stresses them out.  I'm generally keeping track of only myself, and years ago decided that if things didn't happen, it was still OK.  So I realize I'm already ahead of a lot of people

Nonetheless, I have been trying hard to still make lists and plans for myself since they tend to make me feel more grounded.  I remember when we would move to a new place when The Tim would get a new job, I was unemployed, but would still have myself sorted out.  It did make it easier to adapt once I had a job that required following someone else's schedule.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have planned a series of projects to do during the week so that I wouldn't just sit and do nothing.  A lot of them involved putting things away, or cleaning out something - the kind of thing that is occupying, but also works with a somewhat distracted mind.  When I realized that The Tim was going to start being home all the time also after today, I had a talk with myself, so that I wouldn't let his I-never-plan-anything approach drive me as nuts as I know it can.  He's one of those people that will decide on the spur of the moment that he is going to paint a room, so all of a sudden everything has to be moved out right away, etc.  In my case, unless I found out that painting a room RIGHT NOW would somehow save my life or provide me with a million dollars, I would plan when I wanted to start painting, gradually move things out, etc.  So adjustments will need to happen.

Fortunately, since I know I'll have plenty more time off, I'm not trying to cram it all into a few days or one week.  I've been approaching the days in much the same way I approach the weekends.  I do Chore X for 1/2 to an hour (setting a timer), and then do something I want to do (knit, read, take a walk) for the same amount of time.   Rinse and repeat.  This way, I don't feel like a drudge. 

OK, I seldom feel like a drudge - it's more likely that I'll decide skip the chores ... ;-)

For instance - my 'big' project today?  Going through the approximately 6500 plastic/Tupperware containers we have and getting rid of those that are worn out, no longer have lids, etc.  This will in no way take the whole day, but if I get that done, I'll feel that I have accomplished something.  And before you tell me that glass containers are more environmentally reasonable, I will tell you that a) we use the ones we have for years and years, and b) The Tim is careless with these kinds of things, and there is a strong probability that we would be replacing glass containers regularly if we used those.  If it was all up to me, glass would win, but it's not and I can live with that.

Anyway, the reason I'm sharing this is in the hope that it may give you some ideas on a useful way to fill your time when your regular concentration skills are not available.  It works for me most of the time, so perhaps it will work for you, or give you some ideas.


*****
In other news, our craft group at work had our Zoom meeting last Friday, right before our virtual all-staff Zoom meeting.  It was lots of fun and we had some good laughs.  One guy in the group used a virtual background showing a group of men knitting, and it looked like he was sitting on someone's lap, which provided many comments and much hilarity.  We decided to try and meet once a week, since no one is tied to other stuff at work, so that will be enjoyable. 

In our all-staff meeting, we learned that we may very likely not be going back to work in our building until mid-June, and that "for now" no one is being laid off and that "for now" no salaries are being cut back.  Which is at least temporarily comforting, but given that two other museums in the city have gotten rid of 75 and 65 percent of their staffs respectively, no one felt reassured. 

I can't help but think of that Chinese saying, "May you live in interesting times."  Sigh.  Not the "interesting" most of us would dream about, I'm guessing.

29 March 2020

... and to the World


The other day, Pope Francis delivered a homily and a blessing - "Urbi et Orbi" [to the city of Rome and to the world], in the rain, to an empty St. Peter's Square.  A friend of mine on Facebook posted the link to the transcript, and there was a segment that just really really struck me, particularly the part of the last line.  And so I am sharing it with you.  If you are intersted in reading the whole thing, here is the link.
"We can look for so many exemplary companions for the journey, who, even though fearful, have reacted by giving their lives.  This is the force of the spirit poured out and fashioned in courageous and generous self-denial.  It is the life in the Spirit that can redeem, value and demonstrate how our lives are woven 
together and sustained by ordinary people – often forgotten people – who do not appear in newspaper and magazine headlines nor on the grand catwalks of the latest show, but who without any doubt are in these very days writing the decisive events of our time: doctors, nurses, supermarket employees, cleaners, caregivers, providers of transport, law and order forces, volunteers, priests, religious men and women and so very many others who have understood that no one reaches salvation by themselves."

27 March 2020

Because We Need Some Funny

Things are not funny in the world right now.  However, in my opinion, we still all need to laugh, even if it's dark humor.  So I am offering the below items in the hope that they will at least make you smile, even if just for a minute.

The "This Is Fine" dog has changed his focus a little bit:


**

Yep.


**

Truth:


**

What's your sign??


**

Yesterday was supposed to be Opening Day for baseball, but like so much else, that has been postponed. But maybe this will keep you going:

**
And, when things get really tough:


**
Is this just me?


**

When were you last this happy??

**

I call this one "Life with the Koodle"


**
Practice self-care.

**

Poor Ginger!


**
Seasonal.


And for your reading pleasure:

Here's just one reason why pups are the best.

Meet Lieutenant Dan - I love his sweet face!

This kid is calling it.

And here's another Tim for me - and all of us to love.  #HashtagLoveHisHashtags

Take care, everyone, and have the best weekend you can.  Love your loved ones, stay inside, and wash our hands, and we'll get there someday.  xoxo

26 March 2020

Life Lessons

Hi there - I hope all of you are still well.  We are doing OK, and for that I am extremely grateful, particularly since I usually am the one who catches every single thing that comes around and I have happily missed this altogether - let's hope that continues! The Tim has his last day of work tomorrow, and then is laid off indefinitely.  I'm glad I don't have to worry about him being at work, so I can just go back to worrying about our finances, which I do anyway, but now with added flavor.  ;-)

In any event, being that I am part of the demographic that the governor of Texas thinks should be more than happy to sacrifice ourselves for the betterment of society, I thought I would share three things that I have learned in my apparently too-long life, that have not just helped me in the past, but that are helping me now.  None of them are new or life-changing - just reminders.  And since it's also time for Three on Thursday, here you go.

1.  Remember to laugh.  You don't need to laugh until you cry, you can even just smile.  But if you are lucky enough to find something that makes you actually laugh, enjoy it.  Just because things are terrible, or sad, or unbearable, it doesn't mean you can't laugh.  If nothing else, for those few minutes, you will be able to be your real self.

2.  Nothing lasts forever.  Neither good nor bad.  This one is a really hard one to learn and live.  Losing a loved one is the worst thing, but one day you wake up and realize that even if you will always carry sadness about them in your heart, you can also move forward and get back to your life.  I don't know of anyone who ever hopes that life will stop for everyone else when they are gone.  On a much much lesser level, chocolate cake doesn't last forever, either, but once it's gone, there are other things to enjoy.

3.  Enjoy things.  If are one of those people who seems always have wonderful things happen, and live in a world where bunnies romp, flowers bloom, birds sing, and unicorns have glitter coming out of their a**es, good for you.  But I truly believe that most of us live in the other world, and have to make do the best we can.  So watch your favorite TV show, go to the beach, knit what you like, sing in the shower, eat good food - whatever you enjoy, embrace it.  Unless you enjoy murdersprees, in which case, you may want to talk to a medical professional.

Like I said, not news, but at least in my experience, the truth.  So many things are out of our control, and there are tons of things I wouldn't want to control even if I could!

24 March 2020

Some "Aha!" Moments

Hi all - I thought I'd write a quick post before taking Hamlet out for a walk.  Happily, the sun is out today, so we will not have to slog through puddles and downpours.

Yesterday afternoon, I was finishing a project, and realized something that was an "Aha!" moment - so of course I had to go beyond that and consider other things, and had some interesting realizations about myself.


1.  I am a worrier and I panic easily - but apparently, not about big things.  Unlike most people I know, the idea that I could possibly get sick with COVID-19 has not been an obsession.  I realize I'm in a group that has a more likely chance, but I'm doing what I can to avoid it, so I'm neither worried nor panicked over that.  Rather, I'm worried/panicked - as usual - over what most people would consider small or insignificant things, or even better, things that have not, nor may ever happen (that last one is a lifelong superpower, btw).

2.  I realized that by not having to go to work and be around my co-workers all day every day that a) I have been sleeping really well at night, b) I have not been stress eating, and c) I have not had a feeling of dread following me around all of the time.  This must be what it's like to have a better work environment or be retired.  (Note: I did find a project to work on from home for at least a few hours a day, so now I don't have to use up all of my leave time and/or not get paid. YAY!)

3.  I have been getting a lot more done.  Not just on my previously mentioned project, but on other things around home as well.  See: no feeling of dread - I had not realized how that was exhausting me.

4.  Someone from our craft group at work e-mailed me to ask if we could do a craft-together this coming Friday, since one was originally scheduled for that day.  I realized that since we have a work account with Zoom, we could do it, and got it set up for Friday at lunchtime.  The funniest thing is that nearly every person has responded that they will "attend," and I'm guessing a lot of it is because no one will be commenting something like, "Oh I can't usually take a lunch break, I'm so busy."  One woman wrote back and thanked me because "I need this SO much - spending so much time with my husband will surely be the end of our marriage!"  That just cracked me up!  I realized that it will be fun to have those interactions with others at my workplace.

5.  I realized that it was easy to set up a system to automatically dump the junk mail that we receive without having to handle it several times.  The Tim gets really annoyed when I bring in the mail and automatically put the junk mail in the recycling - he wants to see whatever we got, even if it's not something he would ever care about or that applies to him.  So now I bring the mail in, and he has 24 hours to peruse things.  If he does, then anything not wanted goes straight to the recycling bin.  If he does not, I add it to the teetering pile of things next to the chair where he usually sits.  Then at some point, it will either fall over, or start to actually bug him, he'll sort through everything, and then HE has to deal with it.  Perfect?  No.  But much less annoying for me.

Some of these were not necessarily life-changing revelations, nor were they complete news to me, but still revelatory in their own way.

Have you had any "Aha!" moments recently?

23 March 2020

Well Here We Are Again

Hi all - I don't know about you, but I am starting my second week home instead of at my workplace.  I have moved on from worrying about my own situation to just wishing that The Tim's place of business would have to close (which I think is coming, but not fast enough to suit me).  In Philadelphia, only businesses considered "essential to life" are still allowed to operate as usual.  That includes places like grocery stores, which is not a surprise, but apparently at this point, transportation (i.e. rental cars) are still considered part of that category.  He has said that rentals are already down more than 50% and people have been laid off, so they are getting there but not soon enough for me.  I don't want to think he could get sick because he still had to work.  Will it be really problematic for our finances if he isn't working?  You bet.  But that's OK, we'll figure something out.  I can tell it's starting to worry him too, because yesterday he suggested we make a plan for when one/both of us get sick - and he is in no way the planner that I am, so that was major.

Anyway.  At least we have a place to live, and food, water, etc.  Whatever happens, we will be OK, because we will have to be.  I just wish that others would be more proactive about following guidelines and orders.  Having said that, I saw this graphic the other day, and I remind myself to look at it so that I can put things in perspective.  I thought it might help others to see it also.


Use it if you need it.

The weekend was quiet, as expected.  Except that my sister in California kept calling me to tell me she was bored and stir crazy.  And how her grown kids are being driven crazy by their kids, who need to apparently be constantly entertained.  I get it, but I also can only stand to hear about it so much, you know?

It did get me to thinking though that this must be really difficult for extroverts like my sister.  Her life revolves around going out, being with other people, and socializing.  She is not a reader, and not a person interested in any crafts, so for her this is just plain unbearable, and it really is too bad.

In my case, other than hoping The Tim's job will shut down, I'm not having a hard time of it as far as having to stay home goes.  Hamlet and I go for walks, so I do get out of the house at least 2-3 times a day (even when it's pouring, as it is right now ... oh well!).  I have been able to do my exercise routines every day as part of my new schedule, which is both a physical and mental benefit.  I love to read, I love to knit/craft, I love to cook and bake.  No, I don't necessarily always feel like doing those things, but I have a variety.  Besides being an introvert, I think it's also the result of growing up with both older parents and siblings who were much older - I have always been left pretty much to my own devices, and learned from an early age how to entertain myself.  I'm not sure a lot of kids have that these days.

Over the weekend, I managed to finish the first sock of the pair I'm knitting:


And I finally got started on the sweater which caused me swatching problems:


This is actually not really close to the color of the yarn - it's more of a dark green, but I had to work with the lighting I had.  I restarted this about 5 different times, thanks to stupid short rows on the back of the neck.  Now that I'm beyond that, things are moving along well.

On today's schedule is some house cleaning and clearing out a couple of drawers in my dresser that have just accumulated stuff that probably doesn't need to be kept, or that needs to live somewhere else.  I guess one good thing from all of this is that I get these kinds of things accomplished!  :-)

Take care, friends, and I hope your week goes well, with as little stress or upset as possible.

22 March 2020

A Reminder for a Difficult Time


Once upon a time, when women 
were birds, there was the simple
understanding that to sing at
at dawn, and to sing at dusk, was to
heal the world through joy.  The
birds still remember what we have
forgotten, that the world is meant
to be celebrated.
-- Terry Tempest Williams

19 March 2020

Staying Healthy by Staying Home

Hello friends - I hope you are all doing OK, and remaining healthy during this dangerous and uncertain time.  I am at home as we learned last Friday that we would all be home through the end of March at least, and perhaps even longer.  We are of course supposed to work at home.  My job does not make that possible, so my sick and vacation time is being used.  Sadly it's out of my control.  I just hope that I have enough of both so that I don't get to the point of not getting paid at all.  YIKES!

None of it is under my control at least not at this point, so I just decided to do what I can when I can and go on with things.  So I had a lovely birthday last Saturday, and it was also a pretty day here, so that was good.  The Tim and I went to breakfast at our favorite diner, which was not yet closed but was not very crowded at all, very unlike any other Saturday morning ever!  And we had cake, presents, and a birthday dinner with the critters at home that afternoon and evening.  It was a good birthday, even if an exceptionally quiet one.  Thank you for your kind wishes!

The Tim still has to go to work, though I'm not sure how much longer that will be the case.  He said on Tuesday that rentals were down more than 50%, and they were starting to lay off people.  On the one hand, I would prefer that he could stay home and [theoretically] be 100% safe, but if he is laid off, we'll be on extra thin ice otherwise.  Again, though, out of my control, so we'll just see what happens.

I do have to say though that the only family member who is struggling with social distancing is Hamlet!  When we go outside for walks, he can't quite figure out where all of the people are, and also why the few we do see don't want to see him.  The Tim, the cats, and I are doing much better, as we are all fine with not having to be around people.  When I went to see my therapist on Monday, she asked how I was doing, and I told her that I don't like being lonely, but I don't mind at all being alone.  She smiled, leaned forward, and said, "Me too." 

Spoiler alert:  I've been knitting!  Not 24/7 of course, as I've been trying to stay on a fairly regular schedule, but certainly more than I normally am able to do it.  On Sunday, I finished a few more blocks on my blanket.


I really need to stop working on this row and fill in some rows on top, but since there is no real deadline for this, I'm not worried about getting it all done. 

And I've made a lot of progress on the first of my socks that I've been knitting.  The last time I showed them, I had knit this much:


And this time, I actually have memorized the pattern and so have not had to do any more ripping out.  Now I'm past the heel and working on the foot.


I've even made more progress since I took this photo.  At first, I wasn't going to continue the main cable pattern onto the foot, but then I decided that at least this time, I'd try my best to follow the pattern exactly as written.  

I hope at some point, I can get a good photo that shows how pretty the yarn actually is - it's a light green with washes of blues and purples every once in a while, and also has stellina.  It makes it fun to knit, that's for sure.

Also keeping me smiling during this project?  This guy:


BABY YODA!  Isn't he cute?  Someone I follow on Instagram showed a project of theirs with this progress keeper, and I decided that being the Baby Yoda devotee that I am, I deserved to have one of my very own.  He makes me smile whenever I work on this project.  That counts for a lot, particularly these days.

Yesterday, I also started (and restarted, and restarted, and then restarted again) a sweater.  So far I have the neck done and today will start on the yoke (already restarted once unsuccessfully, I might add).

My original plan was that I would be on vacation from Monday through yesterday of this week, so to be honest, I sorta treated those days as I would have anyway.  Today is my first day when I will try to spend at least a bit of time reading some articles related to my work, so I can feel that I'm making some kind of effort - and also maybe learn what some others are working on these days.  There will also of course be some walks with Hamlet, and an exercise workout.  

I am grateful that I am well and only inconvenienced right now, and I hope that will be the case going forward for all of us.  I will say that I blame the person currently living in the White House and his ilk for all of this.  In not-surprising news, it turned out not to be a "Democratic hoax," and by the time he was willing to do anything, it was already too late.  Every person's illness and any deaths are on his hands, as far as I'm concerned, and I hope that when November comes we will all remember why this ended up being the horrific mess that it is.

OK, I got that off of my chest.  So now I'll just say that I hope you are all taking time to make sure that you are keeping on and making things work the best that you can.  My suggestion would be to limit the amount of time you listen/read/absorb the news and other information, and take time to breathe, and do what you can for yourselves and your families.  Let me know what you are making, reading, cooking, or baking - we can share the happy things and lift spirits!  

And before I forget, today is the first day of Spring - the earliest it has been in 124 years!  Maybe the universe knew we would need it now.  This is proof that the world goes on, no matter what we are doing or feeling on any given day.  Our daffodils are already out, looking quite pleased with themselves, and the crocus are getting ready to do their part.  


Look for the pretty.  Look for the happy.  Trust me, if I can do it, so can you.  :-)

17 March 2020

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Have a good one, and celebrate that you can celebrate at all!

13 March 2020

Friday the 13th TGIF


Ah yes, Groucho understood how it works.  :-)

I have always liked Friday the 13th (the day, not the movies) - I'm not sure if it's because of my contrary nature, or that I love black cats (or any cats, let's face it), or I just enjoy other people feeling uncomfortable (OK, admittedly that does always amuse me).  But in any case, today is Friday the 13th of March, and though it started out rainy in Philadelphia, the sun is supposed to appear this afternoon.  

In the ever-present world of coronavirus updates, an event I was really looking forward to enjoying next week has been cancelled.  The Free Library of Philadelphia Author Series had scheduled a talk by Hilary Mantel and signed copies of her new book, and we had bought tickets a few months ago.  It was cancelled yesterday, which is truly disappointing but understandable.  

A few of you commented on my post yesterday that if I couldn't work from home, at least I could get some knitting and reading done.  Which is a lovely thought, but I would come into work anyway, since the deal is that if you can't work from home and don't come into work, you don't get paid.  And I need to get paid, so that's that!  For now, the place is still open, so we'll see what does or does not happen.

However, I had already planned long ago to take a few days off next week, partly because my niece and her husband were going to come up from Baltimore for the now-cancelled book talk.  I am not cancelling my days off though because they were approved long ago and in some ways, I'm looking forward to them even more now ...

Moving along - let's do a TGIF, shall we?

Thinking about - how people in charge of things can be so mercenary and cruel.  With so much going on and so many people having trouble anyway, the addition of cancelled work and school puts many in a true bind.  Not everyone has a large savings account to rely on, or the ability to telecommute when they don't even have a home computer.  Some people say, "Go to the library," but even libraries have to limit computer times for individuals in the interests of fairness.  It seems so many businesses are only worried about the bottom line, not their employees.  And at least in Philadelphia, all schools have not [yet] closed because for a lot of the kids, the only meals they get on any given day are those they get at school.  But at least there are already plans to help bail out banks, so our priorities are straight, right???

Grateful for - working on the assumption that I will indeed wake up tomorrow morning and be able to live my life, I am grateful that I will have made it to my 64th birthday.  Not only that, but for the most part, I am doing well and functioning in life.  That is the true gift.  I plan to enjoy it all, even if this is not the happiest of times in the world.  

Impressed by - the individuals who are going out of their way to help not just their friends and neighbors, but complete strangers.  I read a thread on Twitter yesterday about a woman who was walking into a grocery store, and heard someone calling her.  An elderly man and woman were in their car, afraid to go into the store because they were already not in the best of health, but they needed some basics.  The elderly woman asked the other one if she would mind picking some things up for them, gave her $100 and a shopping list.  The woman not only picked up their groceries, but gave them their $100 back because, "if you can't help a neighbor, who will help you when you need it?"

Feeling - introspective.  I am by nature a rather introspective person, but especially as the years go by and I reach another birthday.  Are there things that I wish I could have done?  You bet!  Do I wish I had done some things differently?  Of course.  But you know what?  At my age, my father had already been dead for 11 years, and my mother was in the throes of her decline in health and ability.  I need to remember that living a good life is an accomplishment, whether anyone else knows or cares.  

Here's hoping you have a lovely weekend.  Ours will involve CAKE (I can never convince The Tim that I should have a birthday cake and a birthday pie for Pi Day), wine, kitty cuddles, and probably lots of laughter.  Even when things are bad, life can be good.

Take care, everyone.

12 March 2020

Round Robin

Well, here we are on another Thursday when things are swirling around and being turned upside down and everyone is on edge for one reason or another.  Someone posted on Twitter that Billy Joel should re-write the song, "We Didn't Start the Fire," but 'describing the last ten minutes.'  

So true.

Anyway here is my contribution to this week's Three on Thursday.


1.  This is a legitimate conversation that occurred during our dept staff meeting this a.m.

Supervisor:  There's a good chance that we will soon all be asked to work from home due to coronavirus concerns.
Me:  I can't do my job from home
Supervisor:  Everyone should find some things that they could work on if they can't be in the building.
Me:  Again, I can't work from home.  At all.
Supervisor:  Maybe you could use vacation or sick time.
Me:  That's not really fair since others will not have to do that.
Supervisor:  Well, then try to work from home.

And ... [scene].

2.  Yesterday I had to go to the eye dr for a follow up to an appt a couple of weeks ago (I have pretty severe allergic conjunctivitis all of a sudden), and also to get my new eyeglass frames with my new prescription lenses.  When I put them on, it was truly amazing to realize how much better I was able to see.  I had thought things were not that great, but apparently things had changed more drastically than I realized!  The dr said I probably just got used to the way things looked before, and my eyes adjusted as well as they could.  Which reminded me of one of my mother's sayings:  "You get used to hanging if you hang long enough."  (Not comforting, but true.)

3.  I have decided to try and learn to crochet (yet again) so that I can try to make a stripey, crocheted blanket.  I'm optimistic that now that YouTube exists, I might have some success.  I've taken classes in the past, but there was always a group of us and I am left-handed, so it never really worked.  And I've never been one who "gets" instructions from illustrations in books.  Once someone shows me something and I understand it, then the book illustrations are good refreshers, but starting there has never been successful.  In the past when I have tried, YouTube did not exist and/or I did not have a computer, so now that we have 20th century technology available at home, I think I should give it another try.  :-)

******


11 March 2020

Here's What I Have for You Today

This boy.


This is Milo the Koodle, who turns 8 years old today.  In my entire lifetime of having pets, I have only ever known the exact birth date of Milo and now Hamlet as well. 

Milo was born to a feral cat mother in the South Philly backyard of one of The Tim's former co-workers.  After a while, all of the other kittens were spoken for, except for him.  We had adopted Dug the Doodle Dog just a few months before, and I convinced The Tim that Dug needed his own kitten.  And that is how Milo came to be with us.

It's also how he became the Koodle - he was the Kitten of our Doodle dog.  :-)

Celebrations will be had at home this evening, with treats for everyone and lots of cuddles.

Happy Birthday to our boy - we love you Bud-Bud! 

09 March 2020

In Which I Did Nothing Socially Redeeming

Not a single thing for the betterment of the world.  Or - maybe by sticking to myself, I did in fact do the world a favor?  Food for thought.

The Tim had to work both days this past weekend, so I was on my own, which was 100% fine with me, because I was especially not in the mood to interact with others.  I had a couple of really excellent walks with Hamlet, as well as *two* games of Blue Ball (TM), which wore him out.  I finished a book I was reading, and fixed the messed up cable mentioned in an earlier post.  

As a matter of fact, I fixed that cable several times.  Spoiler alert - if you actually read the pattern instructions, this will not happen - who knew?  Here is what I finally have so far:


Now, I have to tell you that I had a lot more knit on this originally, but when I was convinced I had memorized the pattern, I managed to knit the cable incorrectly THREE MORE TIMES after I "corrected" it.  Then ... I looked at the pattern.  Oh.  Well that made a difference.  But now it really is seared into my brain, so as long as I don't get too carried away with thinking I'm a genius.

The yarn doesn't really show up too well in this photo, but it's some Black Bunny Fibers yarn that has been in my stash for years.  It's kind of a celadon green, with the occasional light blue flecks, and some stellina thrown in for sparkle.  It's very pretty.

But in any case, I'm on my way with this pair and hopefully they will not take too long to complete.

Other than that, I watched some knitting podcasts, and just enjoyed not being at work.  On Saturday, I did walk up to J Crew, since I had a coupon for $25.00 off if I spent $25.00 or more.  I wanted to see if they had any of their stuff on sale at all.  Well, I lucked out because they had a new shipment of some very nice t-shirts and they were 30% off the price.  I managed to get a white one, black one, and turquoise one, and with the percentage off and my coupon, the grand total came to $17.00!  Not bad for three basic, really nice, t-shirts that I will likely wear until they fall apart.  That was my big outing into the world for the weekend.

This week, we will be celebrating the 8th birthday if Milo the Koodle on Wednesday.  He has been particularly well-behaved and sweet lately, which The Tim says means that he (Koodle) thinks he is getting a pony.  Probably when he does not, he'll go back to his usual self.  :-)

And that's that.  A nice, weekend even if not thrilling to most people.  Now I am just hoping that this coming week at work will be a big long bore, since the other only other choice seems to be Sturm und Drang.

Have a good one!

06 March 2020

This Week Was Not for the Weak

Am I right?  Oy.

I do have to say that for me personally, this was a horrific week, both minutely and in a more major sense.  Truly a terrible 5 days, when it took all of my energy to function and try to think of at least one thing each day that was a good thing.  My fallback?  Every day I was given the gift of being able to wake up, get up, and function.  Frankly some days I did not appreciate that as much as I should have, but nonetheless, I would repeat it to myself as my mantra.  Anyway, here we are.

Last night, I was knitting away on the first of my current pair of socks, being pleased that for the most part, I have it memorized.  And then, as usual, I was shown by the sock and by the universe that once again, pride goeth before a fall.  As I was putting everything back into the project bag, thinking how amazing I am because after having to restart five times, I was finally on my way, I took a look at how magnificent my work had been ... and saw that I had messed up the cable on the front of the sock about ten rows earlier.  Like Scarlett O'Hara, I decided that tomorrow was another day and just put it away.  Like my obsessive self, I kept thinking about it.  And so, tonight those rows will be taken back to the point of said mistake.  The project will then be put away for one day this weekend.  Because in the end, it just bothered me too much not to fix it, and in reality, it will not be that big of a deal.

EXCEPT THAT GIVEN IT HAPPENED THIS WEEK, IT *IS* A BIG DEAL.   Sigh.

This is why we can't have nice things.

Nothing specific is beckoning me this weekend, but I'm sure I'll think of something to keep myself moving forward.  My reading mojo has been low until the last few days, so I may read all the books.  As previously discussed, I'll do a cable correction.  Other than those two things and the usual weekend activities necessary to keep all of us alive and well, I'm going to see how things are each day when I get up.  I'm extremely grateful that I didn't make any plans for the weekend with anyone, so that I can take my time getting my psyche back in order!  And going out for some walks is always a good thing to do.  Sometimes I wonder if Hamlet is happy when I'm in this frame of mind, because it always leads to him getting a lot more walks than usual ...

Hopefully all of us can enjoy our weekend one way or another.  Even if it means that everyone around us will be busy with their semiannual whine about changing the clocks.  In our house, it generally doesn't make a huge difference, since the animals demand meals when they are used to them, no matter what the clock says.  :-)

So have a good one, whether you are reading, traveling, going out to eat, or even knocking over a liquor store. 

04 March 2020

I'm Gonna Q & A With Kathy Today

Kathy used to host a Q & A on her blog every week, and then decided that rather than make it something that she *had* to do, she would throw one out there every once in a while.  Some of the time I have already decided to write or have written about something else, or the questions aren't things I really can answer for one reason or another.  But today I decided to take a stab at it, so here you go.

Do you prefer to knit with bigger needles or smaller needles?

I like smaller needles in general.  I'm always knitting a pair of socks, usually on size 1US needles,  so there's that, but anytime I've used bigger needles (say, larger than a 10US), I have found that I need to limit my knitting time, since my hands start to hurt.

Do you like to have a bulky knit or crochet going with a sock at the same time to alternate weights?

I generally don't knit anything bulky.  Mostly because I try to knit from stash (no bulky stashed), and also because I'm really picky about the bulky things I actually like well enough to knit.  I do however, usually have a sock, something else (shawl, sweater, hat, etc.) going at the same time at a minimum to change it up.  When I have a stitching project, that goes into the mix as well.

Do you have a pattern that can be a bookmark or shawl?

I doubt it.  I do have a lace bookmark pattern.  I also have shawl patterns that if I was inclined, I might be able to take elements of and make a bookmark.  But I'm not big on doing that kind of thing to be honest.  I kinda/sorta like all of the work to be done for me by the designer.

Do you think leaves are the easiest object to work into a project or are you a feather and fan person?

See above answer regarding the "work into a project" aspect of things.  I like leaf designs and I like feather and fan.  But, to repeat myself, I knit them if they are in the design, I seldom add anything.

Do you like to read books about places you have been to visit?

I do.  I also love to read about places I would like to visit, even if it seems unlikely to happen.

Do you know an author?

I know several academics who have written books.  I know a few people who have written short stories/articles/essays that have been published, so that counts.

Do you know a pattern author?

Actually, I know a lot of them!  For whatever reason, Philadelphia has MANY knitting/crochet pattern authors, and most of them worked at our late-lamented LYS Rosie's, so they were co-workers and friends as well.  And then I have some friends who have written a patterns that are on Ravelry, even if pattern-writing is not their main activity.

Do you wish you could write like someone?  Who?

I adore writing.  There are so many people whose writing talent and voice I would love to have that I really can't name one individual.  Most of the time, it depends on what I am currently reading. :-)

Do you plan months ahead for a local person or within an hours drive, for a get together?

A lot of time time I do.  This is largely because most of my friends lead lives that are much busier and scheduled with things than mine.  Also, since I don't drive,** I have to plan how to get where I'm going if I'm the one traveling to meet up.

(**I can drive, I just hate to drive, and therefore have let my license lapse for many many years.  I have a state ID instead.  So sue me.)

Do you like a text, Hey we are at such and such, want to join in?

OK, so besides being a freakazoid who doesn't drive, I also don't have a cell phone, so I can't get texts.  Having said that, 99% of the time, I don't like getting phone calls/e-mails/DMs like that, for two main reasons.  First, I am an introvert who likes to know ahead of time if I have to go out into the world and "do people."  Secondly, I look forward to my free time ridiculously and like to do my own thing.  When it's someone I rarely get to see, that's another story, but most people who know me in real life are either the same way as I am, or "get it."

And there you go.  Whether or not you really care.  :-)

I hope you have a good day.  This cartoon from Mutts makes me laugh every time I think about it.

02 March 2020

Drowning My Sorrows

Hello there!  March is underway, and at least for today the sun is shining, so that's all good news (even if it's supposed to rain again tomorrow.  Seriously).  I had a "good enough" weekend, meaning that it was actually just fine, but it took me nearly the whole time to get over the week at work, so to speak.  Suffice it to say that things are not going well, and individuals are being picked on - truly - by our new museum CEO, who we have decided is trying to get people to quit so he doesn't have to "restructure" more of us out of our jobs.  Like everything else in life, it all piles up and then something small really makes it magnified.  Which was what happened on Friday.

So my "good enough" weekend was spent drowning my sorrows and trying to move along and leave work at work.  This is usually not a problem, but last week made it a bit more difficult than usual.

Originally, I thought I had a haircut appt on Saturday morning.  When I called to double-check the time, I learned that no, said appt was in fact on Friday after work!  (Glad I called to check.)  On the plus side, this meant that I really did have Saturday free, which was nice.  

Saturday afternoon to get started on drowning my sorrows, I finally baked some scones I'd been wanting to make since I saw the recipe.  They turned out to be really simple to make, and wow were they yummy!  Here are my chocolate chip and cranberry scones:


In the recipe, they directed you to make 12 wedges, but I made 8 because we like one more substantial scone as opposed to maybe 2 smaller ones at one time.  They turned out really well, and were especially nice with a pot of tea while watching an old movie.  The Tim reminded me that we have some frozen blueberries in the freezer from last summer, so next time I may substitute those - blueberry scones would be good also, don't you think?  (Spoiler alert: If you ask me, all scones taste good, but that might just be my opinion.)

Sunday, The Tim had to work as usual, so I first drowned my sorrows by paying some bills.  Well, actually, that did nothing for my sorrows, it just gave me different ones!  ;-)  Then I decided that not much else was going to be accomplished, so I turned to knitting.  It's been too long since I worked on my scrappy blanket, so I pulled it out and added some squares, which was extremely pleasing.  My MO is to knit six squares before weaving in ends (don't ask my why, it makes sense to me).  Here's how it looks after yesterday:


And here are the six "new" squares - three from about a month ago, three from yesterday.


This project always pleases me because it's so cheery, but also finishing even just a single square feels like an accomplishment.  I know it will likely take forever to get something even lap-sized at the rate I'm going, but I don't care because I enjoy working on it so very much.  

I also cast on the pair of socks I'm making for March as part of a KAL with my friend Andrea.  No photos, because a) I forgot to take any, and b) I only have some of the cuff done anyway, so there is not that much to see.  

My last "drowing my sorrows" thing was that I decided to give myself a manicure and paint my nails.  I don't remember how or why, but last summer I watched a You Tube video where a woman showed how she successfully paints her nails - meaning that her fingers are not covered with as much nail polish as her fingernails are.  I tried her "system" and it was really successful, which was pleasing.  Of course, I was using a light color - something tells me that if I'd used any other shade, it would not have gone well.  Because that is how life works, right?  ;-)

So eventually I got there, and felt mostly better.  I gave myself a pep talk last night when I went to bed, and so far this morning I'm surviving just fine.  Hopefully that can last, we'll see.

Here's to a decent week for all of us.  Happy March!

28 February 2020

News You Can Use

Few things please me more than unfortunate or stupid headlines in news stories.  One of my favorites that I no longer have in a form I could show you was a story from our local paper when I was growing up.  There was a photo of a heavyset woman who had just been named head of a local organization, but instead of that news story right next to the photo, it was below it.  And the headline of the story directly next to the photo was, "Blimp Visits Wheeling," since it was a big deal that the Goodyear blimp was going to be flying over our city on its way to Pittsburgh. 

Anyway, I thought some of these might make you laugh, and who doesn't enjoy that on a Friday?

Who knew?

Ahem.


Oh my.


Easier said than done.


Why have there not been more stories about this????


I find this one hard to believe.


Wow I hope Mike Pence was in charge of this study, too.


Owe deer!


Overachiever.


And then there is this, where it's not the caption, but the image that is, 
to quote my friend Lisa, "fried gold."



I hope your weekend gives you plenty of reasons to laugh, and that you enjoy Leap Day enough to last you the next four years.  :-)

27 February 2020

Nope, Meh, and Yes

OK, last night we actually attended a concert and though it was lovely and amazing, it meant that I was up a lot later than usual, and so today other than being upright, well ...

To quote The Tim when we left the house: "We seldom go out during the week in the evenings.  The animals are gonna be confused."  They were, and so was my body clock.  ;-)

Today at work I have two meetings back to back before I return to moving stuff, so hopefully I will be busy enough to not realize how tired I am!

In any case, today I have decided to participate in Three on Thursday by sharing three things:  Nope, Meh, and Yes, as discussed/illustrated below.

NOPE

I refuse to allow any images of this person to be on my blog, but look at this if you want to know what I am talking about.  From the get-go, it has made me sick to see this person pretending to need a walker to get around.  And after the verdict was announced, he was shown walking without said walker.  I guess the effort of moving on his own is what gave him the "chest pains" that sent him to the hospital instead of directly to jail.

Mostly, though, this is a NOPE because there are plenty of people who actually need to use a walker to get around, if nothing else to help with their balance and to help them feel secure.  But you know there will now be those who think anyone using a walker is somehow just faking it to "take advantage."  Gah.

MEH

I got a lot of e-mails last week, lambasting me for my post where I griped about spelling, punctuation, and grammar.  I would like to point out that a) none of them were from people for whom English was a second language, and b) some were really rude.  At first I thought I should feel bad, but I re-read the post, and it was clear - at least to me - that I was owning it all as something that really bothered me, not saying people who have issues with any of the above were evil or should be imprisoned.  One person pointed out that she does it "because she is busy thinking, and so can't take the time to check what/how she writing things."  You know what?  I find that to be a lame excuse.  You know what else?  In the end, I really don't care.

YES

I follow a woman on Twitter who is a minister, and a week or so ago, she said that it had been a tough year for her, and:

"So this year for Lent, I'm giving up criticism and self-loathing. 
I'm fasting from hopelessness and fear.
Not because anything right now warrants it, but because hope is an act of resistance.

Maybe instead of ashes, this year we need confetti.
Maybe instead of thorns, this year we need flowers.

Not because everything is sunshine and roses, but because those things persist even still."  

She offered to send out a post every day during Lent to anyone who was interested, and created a project called Lent-ish.  I signed up, and yesterday was the first day.  The initial post was great, but this especially spoke to me.


Definitely a YES for me.  :-)

26 February 2020

Not Much to Report from Here

That's the truth.  Last weekend was fine - nothing much to report, except that I did dedicate part of my Sunday afternoon to another cooking/baking session that was successful.  I made a big pot of creamy potato soup with roasted brussels sprouts, and some applescotch crisp.  We ate the soup on Monday night for dinner and I had some leftover for lunch yesterday and now sadly it's gone - but it was pretty yummy, let me tell you.  And we finished the crisp last night, so that's it for this round of cooking ahead.

I did make a swatch for my sweater project on a set of smaller needles as I had planned, and the good news is that using smaller needles, I was able to get the proper gauge, which was pleasing.  However, that's as far as I made it at the moment.  I also have my yarn and pattern ready for this coming Sunday, when my friend Andrea and I are starting a sock KAL for March.  I spent a little bit of time on Sunday doing another square on my Cozy Squares of Memory blanket, and I did lengthen a pair of socks for The Tim over the weekend, but have otherwise not knit a stitch since then.  I haven't even really done that much reading over the past few days.

No, I'm not sick or anything, or even suffering from a lack of mojo - I'm just really really tired.  I know that I have mentioned in passing that they are "renovating" our space at work (I put that in quotation marks because, well, it's more of a spruce up and not really a nice one, but I digress).  Anyhow, it's close to being finished, and we are moving stuff back in to the space now.  Which is a very slow and tedious process, being that with all of the $$$ they spent, they were too cheap to pay for movers for the bulk of the stuff.  So it's up to us to get it done.  The custodial staff has helped with the truly heavy or extra large things, but the rest is all us.  And it is exhausting, as I'm sure you can imagine.  Yesterday by the time I left work, I realized that I had been on my feet, lifting, shifting, and pushing carts except for the 30 minutes I took for lunch. 

So I do not have the physical or mental energy to do anything other than just sit and stare at the TV.  Fortunately, we have a lot of stuff in our to-be-watched queue! 

The rest of the week will likely be the same, so I probably won't have anything "exciting" to tell you about or projects to show you.  I am hoping that I will be able regroup enough to get started on things this coming weekend.   The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak - so to speak!  :-)

Today is Ash Wednesday, and I have been able to organize my thoughts for Lent and am ready to go as far as that is concerned.  But whatever you are busy with, or not doing, I hope all is well and that here at the middle of the week, you are in a happy and/or content state of mind. 

21 February 2020

Friday Funny - A Star Is Born?

As I've mentioned here before, Hamlet and I go for our morning walk very early in the morning - anywhere from 4:45 to 5:00 a.m.  In the wintertime, when it's still dark, we are generally the only ones out.  Sometimes we'll run into a random drunk, and if we walk near any of the markets in the neighborhood, we'll see people making deliveries. But otherwise, it's the two of us and several buses that pass by.

This morning, as we were walking, we came across some security guards who were in place to guard a lot of the equipment for the filming of the M. Night Shyamalan series "Servant," and I think they were just glad to see anyone else.  But one of them - to his credit - made a huge fuss over Hamlet, which of course made him incredibly pleased with himself.  I told The Tim that as we were walking home, Hamlet was prancing along, clearly thinking that he had done such a good job, that he was destined to be "ready for the pictures, Mr. DeMille."

(We decided the movie would be called "Koodles on a Plane," with Hamlet's tag line being, "Somebody get these m'f'in Koodles off this m'f''in plane.")

Anyway, I posted this on Facebook, where one of the people I'm friends with is the woman who owned Hamlet's father, and raised Hamlet as a puppy for the Seeing Eye.  She commented, "He's always been full of himself," and that just made me laugh out loud!

Then I was reminded of the video below, which someone sent me yesterday, and it's ridiculously hilarious, so I thought you might enjoy it too.


In conclusion, dogs are just plain silly, right?

Here's hoping your Friday is filled with opportunities for fame, and no yucky foods ... :-)